Elon Musk has announced a plan to introduce a monthly fee for all the users of its online platform, X formerly called Twitter.
He made this known on Monday, September 17, 2023, citing the need to cut down on bots.
The tech magnate has made multiple changes since taking over the site for $44 billion in October last year when it was previously called Twitter.
Elon has fired thousands of employees, introduced a paid premium option, cut content moderation, and reinstated formerly banned accounts including that of former US president, Donald Trump.
He stated that the platform had lost roughly half its advertising revenue in July.
Bots accounts run by computer programs rather than humans are common on X, where they can be used to artificially amplify political messages or racial hatred.
During a talk with Elon Musk on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised the question of online anti-Semitism, and how X could “prevent the use of bots armies to replicate and amplify it.”
Elon Musk replied that the company was “moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the X system.”
“It’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots,” he said. He stated that the maintenance cost of a bolt is high so if users were to pay every time they have a new bot, it would reduce the cost load on the company.
The conversation, which was broadcast on X, came as the Tesla tycoon is mired in a row with the Anti-Defamation League, a US-based Jewish organization.
Musk accused the ADL of making unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism that have scared away advertisers and hurt X’s revenue and has threatened to sue for billions of dollars.